ANDY ALEDORT & LUCKY PETERSON – TÊTE À TÊTE (CD REVIEW)
For those of you who like your electric Blues guitar hot and heavy, this collection of songs is the ticket. That being said, the powerful opening track, “’Til My Dying Day” (featuring drummer Trevor Somerville, Froc on rhythm guitar, and the lightweight, in contrast, alternate vocals by Mary Taylor), would have been better placed closer towards the end, after the listener has been acclimated to the musical intensity of this project.
Peterson is an excellent songwriter and musician, collaborating, for the most part, with co-producer and horn arranger Bruce Feiner, who performs on sax and piano. To my great joy, there are several slow blues compositions interspersed among the livelier selections on the CD.
The second track, “No More”, demonstrates multi-talented Andy Aledort’s prowess as the Band of Gypsies Tribute guitarist, with this particular piece invoking a strong memory of Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” classic. That’s followed by the first slow blues, “Leavin’ to Stay”, which is introduced with a trumpet-and-organ sampling of Al Kooper’s “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” (notably covered by the late Donnie Hathaway).
It’s not difficult to recall the more commercially well-known sound of Robert Cray on the whammy-bar-infused “Get Outta My Bed!”, and, in fact, the pesky but irresistible paramour in the song is referred to as a ”strong persuader” (one’s of Cray’s CD titles).
“Not Guilty” is another engaging slow blues that partners soulfully rapturous guitar and piano (the latter by Bruce Feiner) and the strong but unobtrusive bass and rhythm guitar of Mike Nunno and Burt Teague, respectively.
The title track is an upbeat funky instrumental jam with a memorable melody dominated by organ, but which also features tasteful guitar breaks. I can’t distinguish which guitar licks Lucky and Andy contribute on a track-by-track basis, but Larry McCray makes a special appearance on guitar and vocals on “C’mon” (co-written by Peterson, Feiner, and 20-something blues vocalist/guitar prodigy Chris Piquette, who recorded his own scorching version of it). Although Chris is not credited as performing on the disc, McCray says he’s “gonna get down with Chris” during the song, so perhaps he does, as well. The tune is a lyrical parallel to Freddie King’s classic “Me and My Guitar” – “I sleep with my guitar right by my side; now, it don’t be cheatin’; it never lies; me and my axe, we’re quite a team; come to my show, you’ll hear what I mean. It’s easily one of my favourite tracks, along with the dazzling bass-heavy soul/funk/rhythm and blues of “Talk is Cheap” and the closing instrumental masterpiece, “Tribute to Albert Collins”.
Other players with credits on the CD include drummers John Pell and Jason Arnold, and Jamie Finegan on trumpet and Robert Feiner on tenor sax (The Nutmeg Horns).
The production work by Bruce Feiner (who has also worked with James Peterson, Eddie Kirkland, Phil Guy, and Johnny Rawls) and Lucky Peterson on Tête a Tête is best appreciated by listening to it via headphones – a cool 40-ouncer for “thirsty ears”.